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Panasonic’s 2019 dumb phone lineup is for people who want less complexity from their mobile phones such as seniors and children. The most interesting feature is a new distress-alert system that could save a loved one’s life.
What’s a Dumb Phone? Panasonic’s Lo-Fi Cell Phones
Dumb phones, or “feature phones”, come in three types that everyone over 30 should remember: clam shell, candy bar, and flip phone. The cell phones differ from smartphones in several key areas: their battery lives are measured in weeks, rather than hours, they’re cheap and disposable, dumb phones offer superior privacy, and—above all else—they’re perfect for seniors and children.
Panasonic’s 2019 refresh of their feature phone lineup includes the following four models:
- Clam shell-type TU456
- Clam shell-type TU466 (identical to the TU456 but with GPS and a charging deck)
- Candy bar-style TU110 (along with an identical but larger TU150)
Panasonic Dumb Phones 2019: TU456 and TU466
The Panasonic TU456 and TU466 are mostly dumb phones, in a clam shell-style form factor. It sports all the basic features required by a senior citizen. The TU456’s physical buttons make a satisfying click when pressed, which makes dialing numbers a more tactile experience. Its large and bright LCD screen is both visible in direct sunlight and uses large-format lettering—perfect for those with impaired vision.
Like the other phones in this article, its standout feature is an emergency SOS button located on the back of the phone. When pressed and held, the trigger button activates an SMS-based distress beacon. Summoning the beacon immediately fires off a call to five predefined contacts, usually a friend of family member. If the first contact does not answer the call, the TU456 and TU466 cycles through its five contacts until someone answers.
In the event no one answers, the phone automatically sends an SMS to its five contacts. The TU466 automatically piggybacks along GPS coordinates whereas the TU456 lacks GPS functionality.
Along with a two-week battery life, SMS capabilities, rugged construction, and a clam-shell folding mechanism that protects the screen and numpad from damage, the TU456 and 456 include status light indicators when closed.
Panasonic TU110 and TU150 Candy Bar Dumb Phones
The Panasonic TU110 and 150 are Panasonic’s simplest cellular phone models. They’re both durable, lightweight, and provisioned with extremely long battery life—just like most feature phones. Like its brother phones, the TU110 and TU150 do not include any semi-smart features like email. They’re designed exclusively for endurance and ease-of-use.
The candy bar comes in two models, the TU110 and the TU150. As the number designation suggests, the TU110 is slimmer and more appropriate for children. The TU150, on the other hand, comes with wider keys and larger lettering making it perfect for those with visual impairment, such as seniors.
Like the TU456, the 110 and 150 include an emergency SOS button. While Panasonic clearly markets the emergency button toward the elderly, it’s also of clear utility to younger users. As such, the TU series can fit the needs of anyone who may need extra assistance and greater reliability from their phones.
Panasonic’s Dumb Phone for Kids and Seniors
All four models are available for purchase in many Eastern European nations, such as Russia, with a possible release in the United Kingdom. The TU110 sells for approximately $40, the TU150 around $50, the TU456 for around $70, and the TU466 for around $80.